Last night I proclaimed that I wanted to do 8 miles in the morning.
After which, I went about setting out my running clothes, drinking plenty of water, and laying in bed pretending like I might fall asleep before 10:00. I had decided that I wanted to get my early week longer run done in the a.m. so that I could use the evening to work on school stuff. I knew this meant earlier to rise, but, really, lets not push it.
The alarm went off as usual at just after 5:00 and since I had only been pretending like I might fall asleep before 10:00 (I didn't actually get around to it until closer to 11:00) I woke up not wanting to wake up and reallllly wanting to sleep another three hours. Alas, it could not be. So we reluctantly thrust ourselves into the cold air of the apartment (um, brrrr, what month are we in again?!) and got to it. Miraculously, we headed out the door by 6:45 (usually it's more like five or 10 after 7:00 before the run starts). Geof said he didn't think there was any way we were going to get in 8 miles in an hour since we wanted to be back before 8:00, "even if we run sub-9s the whole time." I just got quiet and immediately went into formulating plan B (do I do another run tonight? should we just scrap this? why do I care again?). I was also grumpy now that I believed the run was going to be cut short. Oh well. I decided 6 miles would be fine.
Oh yee of little faith, what has come over you?
We set out heading north. I knew Fullerton was going to be the 5k-ish turn around, and when we reached the water fountain there I checked my watch and saw that it had only been 25 minutes...wow, that's fast for an early a.m. run for me. Now, anything beyond this point was going to be bonus time for me. So we kept at it, Geof just in front of me, and I hanging behind using his footstrike as a sort of hypnosis. Before I knew it, we got to Belmont Harbour and he signaled to turn around so I followed. This run wasn't easy. I was working, hard. I was in a zone with this Train song, "Hey Soul Sister", playing on repeat in my head (it's such a good song!), and imagining I was actually fast :) This was certainly not a conversation pace for me so I was quiet and Geof continued pushing forward, me following. I was feeling better and better, and noted to myself that I consistently speed up after a few miles. Cool. Just before the North Ave. boathouse, a cyclist had pulled to the side, clapping and cheering us on. Smiling as we past him, he yelled, "you don't recognize me, do you!" We turned to look at him again, it was Brendan, our super-star PT! We didn't recognize him in his cycling get-up :) It's always fun to run into peeps on the path!
Once we started up again and rounded the corner by the chess boards, I suddenly had the sensation of no control. I mentioned this to Geof, saying that it felt like my legs had a mind of their own. I surged forward, Geof following in suit. Wowza! I kept my eyes down, watching the ground under me, noting that it felt really fast watching the yellow dashes fly by as I moved with such ease. My heart rate seemed to lower and my breathing felt almost entirely unlabored for that 1/2 mile or so. As soon as I looked up though, I lost focus and eased back into our previous pace. I love when that happens :)
Crossing the street to the apartment, we stopped our watches and I noticed it had been just a few minutes over an hour. Perfect, home just in time! I asked Geof if we had at least gotten in 6.5 miles and he laughed a little and said we had actually gotten in our 8 miles...! "Where did THAT come from?!" I dunno. It just felt good. He continued to shake his head, smiling, wondering out loud how we managed it. Hmmm, I guess that is pretty darn good for an hour's run :) Not only did we pull off sub-9s, but sub-8:15s...I haven't done that in a few years.
I immediately set about stretching, elevating my legs briefly and then putting on my compression sleeves. I really, really don't want to be paying for this one later in the day! Ice and some ibuprofen as preemptive strikes were also included once I got to work. Other than a sore butt from all the new lunging and plyometric exercises Brendan gave me to work on, I feel like gold...no, make that platinum :)
Yow!! I love having good reminder runs...a reminder that I actually do have it in me to move faster. It's so easy to relax into ultra mode and just shuffle along. I had forgotten that I used to have some speed in my legs, and that it does feel good. Picking up the pace allows your body to move more efficiently and to let it work out the kinks better. I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come, and that my diligence and adherence to my recovery and maintenance actually does have some benefits :) Tomorrow I'll take it a little easier though, just 'cuz.
Thanks for pushing it out there, G :)